I am a lover of history and so Dunkirk was going to be my kind of movie.
The evacuation of Dunkirk was not a shining moment for the British forces militarily but it was an amazing feat in what seemed to be a hopeless situation. 125 Civilians were killed and 81 wounded in the rescue of British troops across the channel. Ten times as many troops were rescued than expected with initial estimates at 30,000, 330,000 were actually rescued.
The movie itself did its best to represent and tell the story.
There is very little dialogue or exposition throughout the entire film. You never really see the face of the enemy. You hear shots and soldiers fall, or bullets rain from Messerschmitts down on the beach. Ships are bombed from high above. There is more than one scene where you hear and see shots but have no idea where they are originating from.
Nolan does his best to convey that terror, and the helplessness felt, and even the desperation in this fictional tale based on real events. I am not sure if he meant for it to feel this way, but two soldiers, one who never speaks, and our main protagonist, take advantage of a German attack.
Soldiers carrying wounded to the ship are shot and these two pick up a litter of a wounded man, still alive and use that to get on board the leaving medical ship. Perhaps Nolan meant for their act to seem noble, saving a wounded man, but I saw it more as an attempt to save their own skins using the injured to get on board. An act more of cowardice than nobility. The shell shocked soldier on the civilian boat is another example of this. There are many scenes like that where the main character who I don’t even know his name really, travels all over the beach trying to get out of there. He comes off as more of a man trying to save his own neck.
Dunkirk is also a bit confusing in one of its storytelling techniques.
It tells the story of one bombing attack from at least 3 if not 4 people’s point of view. You see the attack from all three or at least two of the RAF pilots. I am not sure it was all three or not. then you see it also from the civilian boat’s point of view. The editing here is disjointed and while a neat trick in some cases, does not work well here. The ships and planes are all so generic that you cannot tell if this is three attacks or one, again, very little dialogue, very little face time.
What was your opinion of ‘Dunkirk’? Do you plan on seeing it? Let us know AFTER THE JUMP!